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The Green Mermaid, which is what she is called, and there is only one at a time now, used to have many branches. There were Greens DS 2 could choose form. Due to pollution, global warming, population boom and other factors, her father had said, mermaid capacity on Green has significantly dropped.
He had hesitated then added, to an almost non-existent level. Last year, the current green Mermaid of Atlantis dropped to Depth. The mermaid who would take her place…and ensure the Blue-Green Alliance stayed in intact…? Well, he added, her name is “Julie”. She’s not yet thirteen, like you. You are currently the only link to Julie—by parentage, and age. You must be the same age as the Green Mermaid to approach her, and the Alliance rules are that the Green must “accept” her mermaid lineage before her thirteenth birthday.
Or what? Tic-Toc asked.
Or she loses her ability to become a mermaid. She loses her ability to be a citizen of blue.
So…so, what, Dad! We don’t need Green at all, never mind a “Green” mermaid, whatever that is.
So, that means the Blue-Green Alliance would be broken. The spell cast by Morgan Le Fay would be broken.
Who cares about some old Alliance?
Well, right now, it means…Atlantis will do what you are suggesting in your DWG groups. Atlantis will wash away Green if the Alliance is broken.
So…? But she could feel herself faltering.
The original DWG group, the pod of whales that includes Beluga Machuga….
Tic-Toc couldn’t help herself and interrupted, You met Beluga Machuga? He is my ultimate hero.
No, Tic-Toc. I did not meet Beluga Machuga. Her father paused, Tic-Toc, he had said her name again for emphasis, are you getting the big part of this story?
Green is finally being washed away? Beluga Machuga and the original DWG group re going to do what they’ve said all along?
No, her father said. You are going to Green to approach this “Julie” to try to make it so that destruction does not happen.
Why would I do that, Dad?
Because…her father had hesitated for just a second, then solidly answered her question. Because it is a direct order from DS 2 herself. That’s why. It’s not from me. Let me repeat that. It is a direct order from not just The Deep but from DS 2 herself.
But, Dad…, then Tic-Toc stopped, apparently “getting it.” DS 2 said I must go?
Yes, honey. She could see her father was obviously torn.
And he was torn. Inside his mind were tangled questions: What if he never delivered this message to his daughter? Could they somehow escape this directive? Could they be—fugitives from this quadrant? And then, what was he thinking—he couldn’t even faint in this Quadrant without everyone wanting to know about it and it having it go Dispersion, which he sincerely hoped it had not done. He had to trust the Nurse Shark that she had kept her word. He certainly couldn’t disappear here.
You are forced by history and lineage position to be the sea creature to approach Julie, Tic-Toc. It must be you. That’s what we know right now
Dad…why? She could not in any way wrap her tail around this.
The message came from Barnacle Security. It was delivered by, her father had gulped and blanched a bit for someone with such deep green skin, an Official Clam.
Those really exist? Tic-Toc squealed despite herself.
Believe me, they really exist. I’m afraid all of this, really exists. And is really happening.
And I’m the one to make it happen…?
Yes, you are the one.
And it must happen before your thirteenth birthday, and before Julie’s thirteenth birthday.
But that’s only six whole moons away! She thought for a second. For me, anyway.
Yes, jelly fish jam it. It is, her father said. For both of you, I take it.
You mean...this Julie and I…
I believe, if the official decree is correct you were chosen...because your coordinates are the same—to the second. That’s how the magic will work, according to the spell from Morgan Le Fay—it uses the birth magic from both of you to sync her mermaid lineage.
Oh, for Neptune’s sake, Dad. I barely understand what you are saying! There must be someone else who has the same birthday as this Green, with more experience, who isn’t part of a DWG group…who…there must be...
There isn’t Tic-Toc. It’s you. He unbraided his long hair and tossed his head, sending waves throughout the cavern. Yemaya’s blessing. It is only six moons away.
He had reached out then, grabbed her and pulled her close. She thought he was crying, but she didn’t want to look; her father had not cried in front of her since the Grieving after her mom had gone to Depth. She didn’t want to see him doing it now.
So, she did what she did when she was a little tween-ling. She reached around his massive neck and pulled his hair, now unbraided, over his shoulder and cuddled it like a blanket.
Then she fell asleep.
It really had been just too much to stay awake for.
She had woken up slowly. Very slowly in her large pink clam shell and guessed her father had put her to bed. And stayed up by himself to deal with the news that had hit their family like a tsunami.
Julie just did not know anymore about the plan Amber had hatched for her. At first it had seemed like a good idea—to run away back to L.A. to stay with Amelie’s parent for a weekend without letting her Mom know where she was and then go stay with Gigi and a few other friends. She had gotten as far with the plan as buying a train ticket o the Surf Rider and planning on leaving this coming Friday. She was really going to leave without telling her Mom.
She was? Was she? She couldn’t decide.
Her mom was so busy with the business of falling in love with the new cook. Her mom barely noticed her, and maybe wouldn’t even notice her gone for a few days. Sure, Julie thought. Who was she kidding?
Sober Mom noticed everything.
Julie was walking Vader.
“Ouch,” she said out loud and pulled hard on Vader’s leash as they walked off the sidewalk onto the beach. Something had bitten her. What the heck was that?
She looked down and saw a crab hanging onto her toe.
“O.M.G.,” she yelled, shaking her foot, but the crab held on tight to her baby toe. She then went to smash her foot on the pavement and just before she did the crab was gone. Almost as if it had figured out its impending doom.
This. Is. It, thought Julie, reversing direction, much to Vader’s disapproval. She pulled him from the beach, and back onto the sidewalk, replacing her flip-flops. This is what comes of going to the b-e-a-c-h she thought. She was for sure getting out of here now. She would let her mom know that she was only coming back if her mom could guarantee they would leave in six months of her re-entry.
Otherwise, she would become a “Hollywood runaway.”
There was a hissing sound and it seemed to be coming from the beach behind Vader as they turned away. Hiss. Julie turned around—where was that sound coming from?
She went back closer to the beach and noticed a huge clam shell partly open right where her foot had been bitten. It sounded like the hissing sound was coming from the clam shell. What was that about? She picked it up. It sounded like a …busy signal from a phone. And then static.
And then. Then nothing. The sound was gone.